England calling for college pupils

A TRIO of youngsters from West Suffolk College have taken the first step towards earning an England Under-19 shirt.

Jasper Spencer, Sam Bixby and Ricky Jones impressed among 50 young men from the eastern area who attended England Colleges rugby trials at Bury St Edmunds RUFC on Wednesday.

A further five from the Bury St Edmunds college just failed to make the cut – with Jones especially excelling as one of only two players who got the highest grade possible.

West Suffolk rugby coach, Nigel Brown said: “It’s great to see three of our lads go through. The others only missed the cut by one grade and if the East Region had fielded a team against the South East, they would definitely have been in our squad.

“For all these lads to give up their time to have a go at qualifying for an England Colleges shirt, while a lot of their friends were on a well-deserved half term break, speaks volumes for their commitment.

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“It’s a shame for the lads who missed out on the next stage but, hopefully, they will have another go next year.”

With time being tight for the selection process, the trial game between East and South East was skipped. Rob Lawrence, the coach from the South East, and Brown awarded RFU Grades to all the players and compared them with the South East players who have been graded.

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The outcome of the final grading showed that four colleges, Peterborough College, Oaklands, SEEVIC and West Suffolk, are the strongest in the Eastern Area. They provided the fourteen lads who, on the day, achieved the required grade.

They will now be integrated into one team for a trial match against a team from the North on November 6, followed by another trial on November 20 before the final 28 England Colleges Under-19 players are selected.

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